Greear, J.D. Jesus, Continued…Why the Spirit Inside You is Better Than Jesus Beside You. Nashville: Zondervan, 2014. 232 pp. $15.99. Purchase at Amazon or on Kindle for less.
J.D. Greear is pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham which has been ranked by Outreach Magazine as one of the fastest growing churches in the U.S. I have reviewed one of his previous books, Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart, which I found to be extremely helpful.
Divided into three parts and sixteen chapters, Greear takes on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. The first part deals with the reality that the Holy Spirit is usually missing in most evangelical discussions. He does discuss how this could be an overreaction to the Pentecostal/charismatic movement, but, need not be the case.
The second part is a frank and biblical discussion on how we are to experience the Holy Spirit. This part is the meat and potatoes of the book. Here we find that we experience the Holy Spirit in the gospel, the Bible, in our various giftings, in the church, in our own spirit and in our circumstances. It is this second part that the rubber meets the road when it comes to biblically understanding the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
The third part explains how we are to seek the Holy Spirit in our lives. Here, J.D. offers an apologetic against the charismatic ideas though he never really engages them directly.
From the beginning, I was impressed that Greear, a Baptist, would engage this topic. There have not been many outside of the Pentecostal movement that have attempted to deal with this subject except to deride the excesses. Greear was intentional about staying within the parameters of Scripture while not being too concerned with the evangelical tradition from which he comes.
What he ended up writing was a clear and concise systematic treatise on the Holy Spirit that is accessible to all and not just theologians. I did notice, however, that this work is a bit longer than most that are being published today. I found that interesting and welcoming at the same time.
One way I think this work would have been made stronger is if he had a recommended resource list somewhere in the book (except in his notes) for anyone looking to study a bit deeper on this subject.
If you are looking for an accessible and biblically-balanced perspective on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, J.D. Greear’s work is an excellent place to begin. I recommend this to all Christians as well as those non-Christians looking for an understanding of who the Holy Spirit really is.